Monday, January 17, 2022

[Herpetology • 2021] Anolis nemonteae • A New Giant Anole (Iguanidae: Dactyloinae) from southwestern Ecuador

Anolis nemonteae 
 Ayala-Varela, Valverde, Poe, Narváez, Yánez-Muñoz & Torres-Carvajal, 2021

We describe a new species of Anolis lizard from the Pacific slopes of the Andes of southwestern Ecuador at elevations between 372–1,000 m. The new species belongs to the Dactyloa clade and may be distinguished from other Anolis by size, external anatomy, mitochondrial DNA divergence, and dewlap color. Based on phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data, we found that the new species is sister to A. fraseri in a clade composed primarily of large Dactyloid species. The new species is known from a protected area in southern Ecuador, Buenaventura Reserve, which suggests that at least some its populations are well protected.

Keywords: Reptilia, Andes, Anolis, phylogeny, South America, systematics, taxonomy

 Preserved holotype of Anolis nemonteae sp. nov. (QCAZ 14595)
in dorsal (A), lateral (B), and ventral (C) views,
with close-ups of dewlap (D), pelvic region (E), and right foot (F).
Scale bars = 10 mm (A, B, C) and 5 mm (D, E, F).
Photographs by M. Masache. 

 Variation of color in life of Anolis nemonteae sp. nov.
Adult female QCAZ 14595 (holotype, A, B, C);
adult female JMG 0485 (D); juvenile female QCAZ 14431 (E); hatchling female QCAZ 14660 (F);
 adult male QCAZ 14596 (G, H, I); a
dult male JMG 0484 (J, K).
Photographs by A. E. Narváez (A, B, C, G, H, I), F. Ayala-Varela (E), P. Pintanel (F) and P. Romero (D, J, K).

Anolis nemonteae sp. nov.
Proposed standard English name: Star anoles
Proposed standard Spanish name: Anolis de las estrellas

Fernando Ayala-Varela, Sebastián Valverde, Steven Poe, Andrea E. Narváez, Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz and Omar Torres-Carvajal. 2021. A New Giant Anole (Squamata: Iguanidae: Dactyloinae) from southwestern Ecuador. Zootaxa. 4991(2); 295-317. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4991.2.4 

[Invertebrate • 2021] Aridulodrilus molesworthae • A New Genus and Species of Earthworm (Oligochaeta: Megascolecidae) from Semi-arid Australia

 Aridulodrilus molesworthae 
 Dyne, 2021

A new genus and species of terrestrial oligochaete, Aridulodrilus molesworthae (Megascolecidae) is described from a new species found in a semi-arid habitat in New South Wales, Australia. The location of this species provides additional evidence that localized landscape and pedologic factors have allowed isolated populations of native earthworms to persist in areas where low rainfall averages were previously thought to preclude their occurrence. The genus has a combination of morphological features that distinguish it from all other Australian genera. While it shares some features with genera in Western Australia, the wide geographic gap (some 2300 km) appears to preclude any close phylogenetic affinity with these taxa.

Live extended specimen of Aridulodrilus molesworthae gen. et sp. nov.

Male field of holotype of  Aridulodrilus molesworthae gen. et sp. nov. 


Megascolecidae Rosa, 1891

Aridulodrilus gen. nov.

Diagnosis. Large worms (over 250 mm in length). Setae more than 15 per segment throughout. Dorsal pores present. Male pores from racemose prostates paired on XVIII. Firm oesophageal gizzard in V; calciferous glands and oesophageal caeca absent; intestinal gizzards and typhlosole lacking. Nephridia meronephric, avesiculate, and astomate, tufted anteriorly. Caudal modifications of the excretory system (e.g., ureters) absent. Spermathecae three pairs, spermathecal diverticula clavate and single; several internal chambers (i.e., multiloculate but not sessile). Penial and genital setae absent. 

Etymology: From the Latin aridulo-drilus—semi-desert worm.

 Distribution. Western New South Wales, Australia (restricted). 

Remarks. The closest generic relative appears to be Austrohoplochaetella Jamieson, 1971, differentiated by the lack, in Aridulodrilus gen. nov., of any caudal excretory system elaboration (such as megameronephridia, nephrostomes, bladders or ureters). Also Aridulodrilus gen. nov. lacks an intestinal typhlosole.

 Aridulodrilus molesworthae sp. nov.

Etymology: The species is named for the manager of the property on which the species was detected—Ms Rosalind Molesworth.

Habitat of Aridulodrilus molesworthae gen. et sp. nov. 

Geoffrey R. Dyne. 2021. A New Genus and Species of Earthworm (Oligochaeta: Megascolecidae) from Semi-arid Australia. Records of the Australian Museum. 73(4);123–129. DOI: 10.3853/j.2201-4349.73.2021.1769

[Botany • 2022] Deinostigma serratum (Gesneriaceae) • A New Species from central Vietnam

Deinostigma serratum F.Wen, L.N.Tuan & D.Dien,

in Le, Le, Dinh, Tran & Wen, 2022. 

Deinostigma serratum F.Wen, L.N.Tuan & D.Dien, a new species of Gesneriaceae is described and illustrated from the central Vietnam. It resembles D. eberhardtii in habit, but easily differs in several characters, especially in its odontoid margin of corolla petals. The ecological information, geographic distribution and conservation status of this new taxon are also provided here.

Keyword: Deinostigma eberhardtii, Didymocarpoideae, Flora of Vietnam, new taxon

Deinostigma serratum F.Wen, L.N.Tuan & D.Dien,
A & B: Habitat. C: flowering plant compared with a hand. D: Plant. E: Cyme and lateral view of corolla. F: Frontal view of corolla. G: Top view of corolla. H: Adaxial surface of leaf blade. I: Abaxial surface of leaf blade. J: Flower and opened flower. K: Calyx lobes and pistil (style). L: Stamens and half of corolla tube.
Deinostigma serratum F.Wen, L.N.Tuan & D.Dien, sp. nov. 

Diagnosis: Deinostigma serratum F.Wen, L.N.Tuan & D.Dien can be easily distinguished from all species of Deinostigma by its serrate margin of corolla lobes. Further, it is the mostly similar to D. eberhardtii in plant morphology, but it differs from the congener by leaf blade shape (broadly ovate & apex subacute in D. serratum vs. oblong, obovate, apex obovate, acute to slightly acuminate in D. eberhardtii, same order followings) and margin (shallowly obtuse-dentate or shallowly undulate-serrate vs. crenate); adaxial bracts indumentum (glandular-pubescent vs. villous); shorter pedicel (0.8–1.0 cm long vs. 1.5–6 cm long); smaller corolla size (2.3–3.1 cm long vs. 3–3.3 cm long).

Etymology: The specific epithet ‘serratum’ is derived from its special corolla lobes. All lobes have serrated margin so that it can be easily distinguished from others of Deinostigma

Vernacular name: "Mỹ nhụy răng cưa" (Understood as a species with a beautiful serrate lobes margins of corolla lobes. 

Distribution and ecology: Deinostigma serratum is quite common in the moist shady areas under evergreen broad-leaf forest at an altitude ranging from 350 to 450 m asl. in type locality. The plants are growing in the moist sloppy regions on the rocky crevices in association with Liparis balansae Gagnep, Habenaria rhodocheila Hance, Hoya crassipetiolata Aver., V.T.Pham & T.A.Le, Podochilus microphyllus Lindl., and so on.

Photos of the relative, Deinostigma eberhardtii.
 A: Type specimen stored in E. B: flowering plant. C: cymose inflorescence. D: frontal view of corolla. E: lateral view of corolla.

Tuan Anh Le, Ngoc Tuan Le, Dien Dinh, Minh Duc Tran and Fang Wen. 2022. Deinostigma serratum, A New Species of Gesneriaceae from central Vietnam. Taiwania. 67(1); 115 - 118. DOI: 10.6165/tai.2022.67.115 

[Botany • 2022] Cicer appozaicum (Fabaceae) • A New Species from Zhob, Balochistan, Pakistan

Cicer appozaicum Nazar Khan, Amir Sultan & Maesen

in Khan, Sultan, Van Der Maesen, Qaiser & Ishaq, 2022.

Specimens of a native Cicer were collected from different localities in the Zhob district of Pakistan. It is described as a new species, Cicer appozaicum. It belongs to section Vicioides in the subgenus Viciastrum and is characterized by small flabellate leaflets, coiled simple tendril, very small triangular spinescent stipules often parted into two spinelets, a minute bract, large lilac flowers, rhomboid fruits, beaked rugose to tuberculate and granulose seeds and presence of glandular pubescence on the entire plant, except corolla. Illustrations and a distribution map of the new species are provided. The key to Cicer species in the Flora of Pakistan is amended.

Key words: Cicer appozaicum, Description, Zhob, Balochistan, Pakistan.

Cicer appozaicum Nazar Khan, Amir Sultan & Maesen sp. nov.

Diagnosis: Size and shape of flower and ovary, size of fruits and  glandular  hairs  are  similar  to Cicer microphyllum but differs  by  the  stem  which  is  mostly  flexuous,  fewer  and smaller size of leaflets, flabellate to orbicular leaflet shape, smaller  triangular  stipules  comprising  a  single  tooth  or spinelet or often parted into two spinelets, linear to lanceolate calyx lobes, rhomboid fruits, rugose-granulose seed surface and more densely hairy vestituture. 
Size and flabellate shape of leaflets and flexuous stem are also similar to Cicer mogoltavicum, but C. mogoltavicum has more numerous leaflets, slightly smaller corolla, stipules with  many  teeth,  simple  to  ramified  tendrils  while C. appozaicum has  fewer  leaflets,  larger  corolla  size,  stipules comprising a single or two spinelets and simple tendrils.

 Etymology: The species is named after the historic name of Zhob district ‘Appozai’.

Nazar Khan, Amir Sultan, L. J. G. Van Der Maesen, Muhammad Qaiser and Kamran Ishaq. 2022. Cicer appozaicum (Fabaceae): A New Species from Zhob (Balochistan, Pakistan). Pakistan Journal of Botany. 54(4); DOI: 10.30848/PJB2022-4(3)

Sunday, January 16, 2022

[Ichthyology • 2022] Evolving in the Darkness: Phylogenomics of Sinocyclocheilus Cavefishes highlights recent Diversification and Cryptic Diversity

in Mao, Liu, Vasconcellos, Pie, ... et Meegaskumbura, 2022. 

• Our RADseq based phylogeny suggests six main clades in Sinocyclocheilus cavefish.
• The MRCA of the group is of late Miocene (10.2 MYA) origin.
• We resolve the identity of disputed species and unearth two cryptic species.
• We confirm a late-Pliocene-Pleistocene diversification driven by upliftment and aridification of the region.
• This phylogenomic analysis shows introgressive geneflow between some species.

Troglomorphism—any morphological adaptation enabling life to the constant darkness of caves, such as loss of pigment, reduced eyesight or blindness, over-developed tactile and olfactory organs—has long intrigued biologists. However, inferring the proximate and ultimate mechanisms driving the evolution of troglomorphism (stygomorphism) in freshwater fish requires a sound understanding of the evolutionary relationships between surface and stygomorphic lineages. We use Restriction Site Associated DNA Sequencing (RADseq) to better understand the evolution of the Sinocyclocheilus fishes of China. With a remarkable array of derived stygomorphic traits, they comprise the largest cavefish diversification in the world, emerging as a multi-species model system to study evolutionary novelty. We sequenced a total of 120 individuals throughout the Sinocyclocheilus distribution. The data comprised a total of 646,497 bp per individual, including 4378 loci and 67,983 SNPs shared across a minimum of 114 individuals at a given locus. Phylogenetic analyses using either the concatenated RAD loci (RAxML) or the SNPs under a coalescent model (SVDquartets, SNAPP) showed a high degree of congruence with similar topologies and high node support (>95 for most nodes in the phylogeny). The major clades recovered conform to a pattern previously established using Sanger-based mt-DNA sequences, with a few notable exceptions. We now recognize six major clades in this group, elevating the blind cavefish S. tianlinensis and the micro-eyed S. microphthalmus as two new distinct clades due to their deep divergence from other clades. PCA plots of the SNP data also support the recognition of six major clusters of species congruent with the identified clades in ordination space. A Bayes factor delimitation (BFD) analysis showed support for 21 species, recognizing 19 previously described species and two putative new cryptic ones. Two species whose identities were previously disputed, S. furcodorsalis and S. tianeensis, are supported here as distinct species. In addition, our multi-species calibrated tree in SNAPP suggests that the genus Sinocyclocheilus originated around 10.16 Mya, with most speciation events occurring in the last 2 Mya, likely favored by the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and cave occupation induced by climate-driven aridification during this period. These results provide a firm basis for future comparative studies on the evolution of Sinocyclocheilus and its adaptations to cave life.
Keywords: Phylogenomics, RADseq, Diversification, Cavefish, Species delimitation, Introgression

Tingru Mao, Yewei Liu, Mariana M. Vasconcellos, Marcio R. Pie, Gajaba Ellepola, Chenghai Fu, Jian Yang and Madhava Meegaskumbura. 2022. Evolving in the Darkness: Phylogenomics of Sinocyclocheilus Cavefishes highlights recent Diversification and Cryptic Diversity. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 168, 107400. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2022.107400 

[Botany • 2021] Espeletia ocetana (Asteraceae: Millerieae) • A New Tall Caulirosula from Colombia

Espeletia ocetana  

in Becerra & Mavárez, 2021.

A new species, Espeletia ocetana (Asteraceae), from about 3500 m a. s. l. in Páramo de Ocetá, Mongua, Boyacá department, Colombia, is described and illustrated. The new species exhibits a caulescent rosette habit (0.7–1.8 m tall), sessile leaves, elliptic leaf laminae with greyish indumentum, robust bracteate thyrsoid capitulescences spreading laterally from rosette, each holding 16–37(–69) capitula, external phyllaries 14.2–31.1 mm long, and ray florets 13.9–21.3 mm long arranged in 2.0–2.9 series. It is markedly different from the majority of other members of the genus, and only slightly similar to E. jaramilloi, from which it can be easily distinguished by its taller stems, wider leaves with a smaller length/width ratio, and longer sheaths. Furthermore, E. ocetana has capitula with ray florets arranged in fewer series, and with longer phyllaries, ray corollas, ray corolla limbs, ray styles, ray style branches, disc florets, and disc styles. In addition, E. ocetana is distributed allopatrically in regard to E. jaramilloi, and differs as well in its ecological preference for humid to very humid shrubby páramos. Espeletia ocetana is rather abundant in its type locality, which is a relatively well-conserved páramo located within the limits of Parque Natural Regional Siscunsí-Ocetá. However, it is absent from road margins, abandoned agriculture fields, and other areas impacted by human activities. Further studies will be necessary to know appropriately the extent of the geographic distribution of E. ocetana, its ecological requirements and its phylogenetic affinities with other species.



María Teresa Becerra and Jesús Mavárez. 2021. Espeletia ocetana (Millerieae, Asteraceae), A New Tall Caulirosula from Colombia. Systematic Botany. 46(4); 1095-1106. DOI: 10.1600/036364421X16370109698678 

Colombia cierra el 2021 con nueva especie de frailejón

[Botany • 2022] Gastrochilus pankajkumarii (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae: Aeridinae) • A New Lithophytic Orchid from southern Vietnam

Gastrochilus pankajkumarii Vuong, Aver., & V.C. Nguyen,

in Nguyen, Averyanov, Maisak, Nguyen, ... & Truong, 2022. 
 Photo by Truong Ba Vuong and Nguyen Van Canh. 

Gastrochilus pankajkumarii, found in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, is described as a new species for science. The protologue includes color analytical photos of the new species and data on phenology, ecology, and distribution. Morphological comparisons with similar species are presented.

Keyword: Central Highlands, endemism, flora of eastern Indochina, Gastrochilus sect. Microphyllae


Gastrochilus pankajkumarii Vuong, Aver. & V.C. Nguyen, type specimen.
A. Flowering plant. B. Leaf sheath. C. Leaf, adaxial and abaxial surface. D. Apical part of leaf, adaxial and abaxial surface. E. Margin of leaf near the apex. F. Intact inflorescences. G. Flower, frontal, side view, and view from behind. H. Dorsal sepal, adaxial and abaxial surface. I. Lateral sepals, adaxial and abaxial surface. J. Petals, adaxial and abaxial surface. K. Lip, views from different sides; L. Column, ovary and pedicel, frontal view and view from behind. M. Column, frontal view. N. Anther cap, view from above and from below. O. Pollinarium; P. Ripening capsules.
 Photo by Truong Ba Vuong and Nguyen Van Canh. 
Correction and design by L. Averyanov and T. Maisak.

Gastrochilus sect. Microphyllae Bentham & Hooker 

Gastrochilus pankajkumarii Vuong, Aver., & V.C. Nguyen, sp. nov. 

Etymology. The species name honors Dr. Pankaj Kumar for his great contribution to orchid taxonomy and ecology. 

Vernacular names. Túi thơ Pankaj, Túi thơ Chư Mư. 

Notes. The newly described species morphologically resembles Gastrochilus dulongjiangensis Q. Liu & J.-Y. Gao, G. fuscopunctatus, and G. kadooriei, all three of which are known from limestone areas of northeast Indochina and southern China, as well as G. pseudodistichus (King & Pantl.) Schltr., which is more widespread in the Indo-Burma region, including southern Vietnam. Further molecular studies of these species may be useful for understanding their mutual genetic relationships. A critical comparison of the new species with each of these four species is presented in Table 1.

Flowering plants of Gastrochilus pankajkumarii Vuong, Aver. & V.C. Nguyen in nature
 (Photo by Nguyen, Van Canh).

Habitat and phenology. Humid primary montane broad-leaved evergreen forest, at an elevation of about 1800–2000 m. a.s.l. Growing lithophytically on mossy granite rocks near mountain summit. Common species in the area. 

Distribution. Southern Vietnam (Dak Lak Province). Endemic of the Central Highlands.  

Van Canh Nguyen, Leonid V. Averyanov, Tatiana V. Maisak, Thi Lien Thuong Nguyen, Van Khuong Nguyen and Ba Vuong Truong. 2022. Gastrochilus pankajkumarii, (Aeridinae, Epidendroideae, Orchidaceae) A New Lithophytic Orchid from southern Vietnam. Taiwania. 67(1); 35-39. DOI: 10.6165/tai.2022.67.35

[Botany • 2021] Begonia araneumoides, B. batuphila, B. panjangfolia, et al. (Begoniaceae: sect. Jackia) • Six New Species of Begonia from Sumatra, Indonesia

Begonia araneumoides Ardi & Girm.,
  Begonia batuphila Girm.,  
  Begonia hijauvenia Girm., Ardi & M.Hughes,
Begonia mursalaensis Girm., M.Hughes & Ardi.,
  Begonia panjangfolia Girm., Ardi & M.Hughes, 
  Begonia perunggufolia M.Hughes & Girm.,

in Girmansyah, Hughes, Sulistijoriniet al., 2022.

Six new species of Begonia sect. Jackia from Sumatra are described and illustrated: B. araneumoides, B. batuphila, B. hijauvenia, B. mursalaensis, B. panjangfolia, and B. perunggufolia. All morphological characters and measurements were observed from living plants in the Bogor Botanical Gardens greenhouse or the wild. Using IUCN criteria, 4 species are considered to be Data Deficient, 1 Vulnerable, and 1 Least Concern.

Keyword: Begonia araneumoides, B. batuphila, B. hijauvenia, B. mursalaensis, B. panjangfolia, B. perunggufolia

Begonia araneumoides Ardi & Girm., sp. nov. 

Diagnosis: Begonia araneumoides most closely resembles B. droopiae (Ardi and Hughes, 2010) from Solok Ambah, West Sumatra in having strongly asymmetric leaves which are rugulose with a crenate and fringed margin, but it can be differentiated by its mix of basifixed and eccentrically peltate leaves (vs. purely basifixed); smaller male flower outer tepals 5‒7 × 6 mm (vs. 11–17 × 6–7 mm), and an ellipsoid capsule (excluding the wings) (vs. broadly ellipsoid to subglobose).

Distribution and habitat: Endemic to Sumatra, West Sumatra, Limapuluh Kota Regency, in lowland forest.

 Etymology: Latin (araneum: spiderweb; oides: resembling), referring to the pattern of tertiary veins which are arranged like a spiderweb. 

Begonia batuphila Girm., sp. nov.  

Diagnosis: Begonia batuphila resembles Begonia inversa Irmsch. (Irmscher 1953) in its diminutive habit but differs in having suborbicular-ovate leaves (vs. obovate-cuneate) which are widest at the middle (vs. the apical third of the lamina) and larger male flowers with orbicular tepals 1–1.4 × 0.8–1 cm, (vs. oval tepals 7 × 4 mm).  

Distribution and habitat: Sumatra, West Sumatra, on the coast near Padang, and in the hills surrounding Payakumbuh and Sijungjung, growing on damp, shaded cliff faces or large boulders below the tree canopy at 50– 800 m altitude. Frequently found on limestone. 

Etymology: Derived from the Indonesia word for rock (batu), referring to the lithophytic habit of this species. 

Begonia hijauvenia Girm., Ardi & M.Hughes, sp. nov. 

Diagnosis: Begonia hijauvenia is similar in habit and leaf shape to Begonia raoensis M.Hughes (Hughes et al. 2015a) but differs in having a purple-brownish lamina with pale green veins (vs. uniform green) with a broadly scalloped margin (not subentire), longer peduncles up to 40 cm (vs. c. 20 cm) which are white pilose (vs. red pilose with fleshy red hairs at the petiole apex) and 115 stamens (vs. c. 50). 

Distribution and habitat: Endemic to Sumatra, North Sumatra, in lowland forest. 

Etymology: Derived from the Indonesian word for green (hijau), referring to the green veins of the leaves.

Begonia mursalaensis Girm., M.Hughes & Ardi., sp. nov.  

Diagnosis: Begonia mursalaensis is most similar to B. raoensis M.Hughes (Hughes et al., 2015a) in habit, mature leaf colour, and red-pilose petioles with hairs denser at the apex, but differs in having leaf lamina ovate to broadly ovate (vs. suborbicular), larger male flower tepals 12–15 × 11–12 mm (vs. c. 8 × 7 mm) with more stamens (122 vs. 50), fruit which are on a ca. 10 mm stiff recurved pedicel (not pendent on a ca. 20 mm hair-like pedicel) and more elongate triangular fruit wings (vs. rounded triangular). Also similar to B. stictopoda in habit and leaf shape but differs in having petioles which are red-pilose (vs. white sparsely tomentose) and more elongate triangular fruit wings (vs. rounded fruit wings).

Distribution and habitat: Endemic to Sumatra, North Sumatra, Mursala Island, growing on the rocky banks of streams. 

Etymology: The epithet refers to the name of Mursala Island in North Sumatra, the type locality of the species. 

Begonia panjangfolia Girm., Ardi & M.Hughes, sp. nov.  

Diagnosis: The combination of dimorphic stipules and elongate elliptic-lanceolate leaves differentiates Begonia panjangfolia differentiate this species from all other species in Begonia sect. Jackia.

Distribution and habitat: Endemic to Sumatra, West Sumatra, Pasaman, Batang Landu. On the banks of the Batang Lindu river at c. 150 m altitude. 

Etymology: Derived from the Indonesia word panjang, meaning long, referring to the quite elongate leaf shape which is unique in Begonia sect. Jackia in Sumatra. 

Begonia perunggufolia M.Hughes & Girm., sp. nov. 
Diagnosis: Begonia perunggufolia is most similar to B. kemumuensis M.Hughes (Hughes, 2015) in habit, but differs in having an unlobed leaf margin (vs. with 2–6 pointed short lobes), upper leaf surface bright green along the primary veins and brownish green in between (vs. uniform green), male flower tepals broadly ovateorbicular (vs. ovate), and a globose androecium with c. 50 anthers (vs. globose-cylindrical with c. 100 anthers). 

Distribution and habitat: Endemic to Sumatra, North Sumatra, in lowland forest. 

Etymology: Derived from the Indonesian word for bronze (perunggu), referring to the bronze colour on the leaves. 

Deden Girmansyah, Mark Hughes, Sulistijorini, Rugayah, Wisnu H. Ardi and Tatik Chikmawati. 2022. Six New Species of Begonia (Sect. Jackia, Begoniaceae) from Sumatra, Indonesia. Taiwania. 67(1); 97-109.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

[Herpetology • 2022] Strong Differentiation between Amphibian Communities on Two Adjacent Mountains in the Upper Rio Pastaza Watershed of Ecuador, with Descriptions of Two New Species of Terrestrial Frogs: Pristimantis burtoniorum & P. maryanneae

Live photographs of new species and comparison with similar Pristimantis frogs in the region
Pristimantis burtoniorum sp. nov. from Machay Reserve Cerro Mayordomo;
P. maryanneae sp. nov. from Naturetrek Vizcaya Reserve;  
P. tungurahua from Naturetrek Vizcaya Reserve; G P. sacharuna from Rio Zuñag Reserve;
 H P. ventrimarmoratus from Río Zuñag Reserve; I Pristimantis sp. from El Encanto.

 Reyes-Puig, Franco-Mena, et al., 2022. 

Photographs J. P. Reyes-Puig, M. Y. Muñoz, J. Brito and L. Jost.

We present the results of herpetological surveys in two adjacent mountains where the EcoMinga Foundation protects the cloud forest in the Upper Rio Pastaza watershed, in the Llanganates Sangay Ecological Corridor in Ecuador. A rapid assessment of the amphibian communities of the study sites reveals a diverse and heterogeneous composition, dominated by terrestrial frogs from the genus Pristimantis. We also identify a cryptic diversity with a significant number of candidate new species. We describe two new species of terrestrial frogs of the genus PristimantisPristimantis maryanneae sp. nov. is characterised by not having tympanum externally visible and having 2–3 subconical tubercles in the upper eyelid; and Pristimantis burtoniorum sp. nov. is characterised by the presence of red colouration in hidden surfaces of the hind-limbs, tubercles on the upper eyelid, interorbital tubercle and a row of rounded tubercles along the snout to the tip and a pale red venter with dark brown mottled pattern. Our samples from the two Reserves do not share species between them, so the proportion of shared species seems to be relatively low. In addition, we highlight the importance of updating the knowledge of amphibians that are restricted to this important conservation region and comment about the threats and composition of the amphibian communities on the eastern slopes of the Upper Rio Pastaza watershed.

Keywords: Andes, conservation, endemism, Llanganates-Sangay Ecologic Corridor, montane cloud forest, Pristimantis

Pristimantis maryanneae, live photographs of Paratypes
A lateral view and B dorsal view (DHMECN 14452)
C lateral view and D dorsal view (DHMECN 14451).
Photographs by Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz.

 Pristimantis maryanneae sp. nov
Proposed standard English name: Maryanne’s Robber Frog 
Proposed standard Spanish name: Cutín de Maryanne

Diagnosis: Pristimantis maryanneae can be distinguished from other Pristimantis by the following character combination: (1) skin on dorsum finely shagreen, with flat and low warts, weak and fine sacral fold, composed of some low warts, two pairs of scapular tubercles diagonal aligned behind the eye; venter areolate with pustules, discoidal fold present; (2) tympanum absent, hidden beneath the skin; tympanic anulus visible under the skin measuring 25% of the eye diameter; (3) snout short, rounded in dorsal and lateral profile; (4) upper eyelid with 2–3 subconical tubercles (rounded in preservative); upper eyelid wider than interorbital distance; cranial crests absent; (5) dentigerous process of vomer present, oblique in outline with 2–3 oval teeth; (6) males without vocal slits, no nuptial pads; (7) Finger I shorter than II; digital pads expanded; (8) fingers with weakly defined laterals fringes; (9) forearms with small ulnar subconical tubercles; (10) heel bearing a small subconical tubercle; outer edge of tarsus bearing small subconical tubercles, inner tarsal fold absent; (11) two metatarsal tubercles, inner oval twice or three times larger than outer oval that is subconical; (12) toes without lateral fringes; supernumerary tubercles present, Toe V larger than III, does not reach distal subarticular tubercle of Toe IV; (13) dorsal colouration dark grey to grey with green marks, with transverse dark brown marks, with a chevron and irregular “H” shaped marks, flanks with cream diagonal bands, shanks with cream diagonal bands and light brown interspaces, hind-limbs with grey transverse bands and dark brown interspaces; ventral colouration dirty cream with a line along middle of the venter, chin and outer mandibula mottled with dark brown marks, iris light brown to grey with black reticulation and horizontal coppery stripe and (14) SVL males 17.61–17.8 mm; female 21.06mm.

Distribution and natural history: Pristimantis maryanneae is known only from the type locality, Naturetek Vizcaya Reserve, located at Ulba Parish, Baños township, Tungurahua Province, at 2400 m elevation in the eastern versant on the Andes in central Ecuador (Fig. 2), near the southwest limit of Llanganates National Park. This species was found in mature montane cloud forest (MAE 2012), characterised by a canopy of 25 to 30 m covered by epiphytes, orchids, bromeliads, bryophytes, and ferns. The bambusoid grass genus Chusquea was predominant in the area. The five known specimens of Pristimantis maryanneae were found in the lower stratum of the forest, sitting on leaves from 60 to 160 cm; one individual was found in leaf litter during the day, while all others were found on fern leaves at night.

Etymology: Specific epithet is in recognition of Maryanne Mills (née Sawle), a zoologist from Perth, Australia. In 1986, she helped her husband, David Mills, set up the UK’s premier wildlife tour operator, Naturetrek and she has been based in England ever since. Her passion for the environment and its conservation has led Naturetrek to donate widely to this cause, including donations to World Land Trust which allowed EcoMinga Foundation to purchase more than 1,000 acres of Ecuadorian cloud forest, where this new species of terrestrial frog was discovered.

Pristimantis burtoniorum
A lateral view female paratype (DHMECN 14477) B frontal view, male paratype (DHMECN 14480)
C groin view, female paratype (DHMECN 14482) D dorsal view of Holotype (DHMECN14479).
Photographs by Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz.

 Pristimantis burtoniorum sp. nov.
Proposed standard English name: Burtons’ Robber Frog 
Proposed standard Spanish name: Cutín de los Burton

Diagnosis: Pristimantis burtoniorum sp. nov. is distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) skin on dorsum and flanks finely shagreen with a slightly defined mid-dorsal fold, which extends from the tip of the snout to the ventre; skin on ventre areolate, dorsolateral folds absent; discoidal fold present and defined; (2) tympanum present; tympanic membrane and annulus present, equivalent to 25% of the eye diameter; with a single subconic postrictal tubercle; (3) snout large and subacuminate in dorsal and lateral profile; with several small subconic tubercles along the upper mandibulae, more evident in females; (4) upper eyelid with 3–4 large subconic tubercles; one subconic interorbital tubercle, followed by a row of rounded tubercles along middle of the snout; upper eyelid wider than interorbital distance; cranial crests absent; (5) dentigerous process of vomer present, oval in outline with 4–5 teeth oval; (6) males lacking vocal slits, nuptial pads weakly defined; (7) finger I shorter than II ; expanded digital pads, extended in fingers II-IV; two times the width of the digits; (8) fingers with large lateral fringes; (9) forearms with small conic ulnar tubercles; (10) heel with a small conic tubercle; outer border of the tarsus with small conical tubercles, inner tarsal fold present, weakly defined in the first portion; (11) two metatarsal tubercles, inner oval twice size of the outer tubercle that is round-shaped; (12) toes with fine lateral fringes; plantar supernumerary tubercles present, toe V larger than III, not extending further than distal subarticular tubercle of toe IV; (13) dorsal colouration grey with transversal marks dark brown, legs and arms with diagonal bands dark brown with interspaces pink (red in life), flanks with oblique bands finely delineated by cream, hidden surfaces of the venter and groin red; ventral colour grey dense, marked by dark brown, throat and outer mandibulae with dark brown marks, brown-red iris and (14) SVL in males 16.61–17.45 mm; females 20.81–27.03 mm.

Distribution and natural history: Pristimantis burtoniorum is known only from the type locality in the Machay Reserve, Rio Verde Parish, Baños township, Tungurahua Province, Republic of Ecuador (Fig. 2) at an elevation of 2940 m. This locality is comprised of montane cloud forest (MAE 2012), with a canopy of 15 m with a dense layer of bryophytes and epiphytes and an understorey dominated by bromeliads of 30–60 cm in height from the forest floor. This is the predominant microhabitat for Pristimantis burtoniorum; all specimens were found hiding in the base of bromeliads leaves. Sympatric species are Pristimantis festae complex, P. buckleyi complex, Niceforonia sp and Hyloscirtus sp.

Etymology: Species epithet is the genitive plural of “Burton” in Latin, in recognition of John and Viv Burton, who founded and led the World Land Trust for most of its existence. Their impact on nature conservation is worldwide. Without the World Land Trust’s “Forests in the Sky” initiative, it would not have been possible for EcoMinga Foundation to establish the Machay Reserve and complete the Llanganates-Sangay Ecological Corridor.

Live photographs of new species and comparison with similar Pristimantis frogs in the region
Pristimantis burtoniorum sp. nov. (DHMECN 16220 from Machay Reserve Cerro Mayordomo.) B P. maryanneae sp. nov. (DHMECN 14454 from Naturetrek Vizcaya Reserve) C P. prolatus (DHMECN 16244 from El Encanto)
P. albujai (DHMECN 12245 from Sardinayacu river) E P. tungurahua (DHMECN 15224 from Naturetrek Vizcaya Reserve) F P. puruscafeum (not collected from Cerro Candelaria Reserve)
P. sacharuna (DHMECN 16723 from Rio Zuñag Reserve) H P. ventrimarmoratus not collected from Río Zuñag Reserve I Pristimantis sp (DHMECN 16250 from El Encanto) .
Photographs Juan Pablo Reyes Puig, Mario Yánez Muñoz, Jorge Brito and Lou Jost.

Juan Pablo Reyes-Puig, Carolina Reyes-Puig, Daniela Franco-Mena, Lou Jost and Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz. 2022. Strong Differentiation between Amphibian Communities on Two Adjacent Mountains in the Upper Rio Pastaza Watershed of Ecuador, with Descriptions of Two New Species of Terrestrial Frogs. ZooKeys. 1081: 35-87. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.1081.71488